Healthy Diet, Healthy Teeth
All parents love to see their children smile. Keep that smile healthy by helping your children make food choices that are good for their bodies and teeth. Here are some tips:1
Help your children eat a balanced diet that contains all the major food groups. A balanced diet will provide your children with the nutrients to build strong teeth and healthy gums.
Watch out for foods with sugars and starch. They can cause tooth decay. Starchy foods such as pasta and crackers may not taste sweet but they can be broken down into sugars and then acids by bacteria in the plaque on the teeth and these acids can decay teeth. These foods are better served with a meal than as a snack.
Don’t put young children to bed with a bottle of formula, juice, or milk. When these liquids are left to sit in the mouth, they can produce acids that attack the teeth. Use a pacifier or bottle filled with water instead.
Save sweet foods, such as candy and cookies, for special events.
Limit sticky foods, such as toffee and dried fruits. These foods stick to the teeth and are not easily brushed or washed away.
Limit the number of snacks your children eat and choose nutritious snacks.
Choose soda and gum without sugar.
Make sure your children get enough fluoride. If your drinking water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist about supplements.
1 “Diet and Snacking.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/snacking.asp. Accessed 2010.